A comparison of Virgil van Dijk's stats this season to William Saliba and Ruben Dias is going viral
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A fascinating study has compared Virgil van Dijk, William Saliba and Ruben Dias' stats in the Premier League this season.
The trio are regarded as the best centre-backs in the division, regularly impressing for Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City.
Van Dijk has been a rock at the back for Liverpool since completing a £75 million move from Southampton in 2018.
He was named club captain in the summer following Jordan Henderson's departure.
Saliba joined Arsenal as a teenager in 2019 but would spend three years on loan to gain experience.
Spells at Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille ensured he returned to the Emirates Stadium as a first-team regular.
Dias, meanwhile, is City's most reliable defender and has been professionalism personified since leaving Benfica in 2020.
How do they compare against each other? Well, there's a clear winner based on the opening 12 games of this Premier League season.Based on their 'Opta Performance Index' rating via Squawka, Van Dijk is operating at a truly elite level for the Reds.
Van Dijk is top of all categories that matter to a central defender bar ball recoveries, forward passes and ground duels won, which Saliba tops. Given the 10-year age gap, you can forgive Van Dijk for not being as eager as Saliba.
Despite Dias not beating Van Dijk or Saliba in any category, he's still an 81 on the Opta Performance Index. That's the same as Van Dijk and one more than Saliba.
What makes the Netherlands international's performances more impressive is knowing he doing it all after recovering from an ACL injury.
"My injury was very serious, it is not surprising that you have to get to know your knee again, so to speak," Van Dijk admitted to Algemeen Dagblad, via Sport Witness.
"But now I don’t notice it anymore. I haven’t had to change much in my way of playing, I have the feeling that I can do everything again."
Liverpool are currently second in the table after coming fifth and failing to qualify for the Champions League last season.
Van Dijk added: "I take some criticism seriously, but not all. I know very well when I play well and when I don’t.
"Last season was just mediocre, sometimes even bad. As a team we also struggled to find a good rhythm at Liverpool. The Nations League with the Dutch team was also not good.
"I have thought and talked about it a lot to be able to turn that around. That worked, I think. Things have been going very well again since the summer."